Swedish Midsummer Celebrations

Have you ever seen a group of people jumping like frogs around a leaf covered pole? You have?! Then you must have been visiting a Swedish midsummer party (or you have some weird channels on your tv). We know that it sounds like a strange tradition. It is. And we won’t be able to tell you the story behind these traditions, since we have absolutely no idea why we do it. It’s just … tradition. Normally we don’t take these things very serious, but this year we visited some close friends that had arranged everything. Even the pole and the frog dance. We had a blast. Dancing around the midsummer pole, making frog sounds, acting like our parents did when we were kids (and we swore that we would never do the same).

Swedish midsummer celebrations are a lot like our crayfish parties, except for the pole dancing. We cook, we eat, we drink, we sing. Instead of crayfish, most people eat pickled herring and small homegrown potatoes. We had prepared vegetable muffins, this time loaded with goat cheese, broccoli and olives. We also made a no-bake summer cake topped with freshly picked wild strawberries and blueberries. Here are a few photos from our midsummer, and if you scroll down you will also find the recipe for the cake.

Summer Berry Cake
Makes 1 big cake or 8 small

The crust in this cake has a very rich and sweet taste, so we kept the filling pretty natural with fruit and a fat yogurt. We love it like this, but if you have a sweet tooth you might want to add more honey to it. Also, if you won’t eat it immediately we recommend that you make edges on the crust that will keep the filling in place, since it might melt a bit after a while in the sun.

300 g (2 cups) walnuts
10-12 fresh dates, pitted
2 tbsp coconut oil
a pinch of salt

1 cup fresh (or frozen) summer berries, we used blueberries and wild strawberries
juice from 1/2 lemon
4-6 tbsp honey, agave syrup or maple syrup
2 cups
greek yogurt or quark
1 tsp cardamom

1 cup fresh summer berries

Grind walnuts in a blender or a food processor for about a minute. Add dates, coconut oil and salt and run the processor until it all comes together. Flatten it out on the bottom of an 8-inch non-stick spring form or in small muffin cups. Store in the fridge while you make the filling.

Mash the berries for the filling slightly, add lemon juice and honey. If you use a thick yogurt or quark you can use it as it is, but if the yogurt feels too loose and runny you can strain it through a cloth or a coffee filter. Stir together the strained yogurt and the blended berries in a large bowl. Pour it on top of the crust in the spring form and put it in the freezer for around 30-45 minutes (you want it cold but not deep frozen) .

Top the cake with fresh seasonal berries. Serve immediately.

Ps. We recently got the “Sites We Love” award by Saveur Magazine! Read the interview here.


  • Sini
    I made this cake for my birthday last weekend. It was a hot day so a non-oven cake was ideal. We all loved it. Thumbs up!
  • Hysterical! And wonderful! And charming! I loved this post and laughed out loud when I saw the adults tromping around the pole holding hands, laughing, and having such a good time. A huge congratulations on getting interviews by Saveur. I read it and it was a super piece. I'll keep dreaming over here...
  • What a treat of a post. I'm in love with the photo of the young woman in a flower crown, and, of course, the one of Elsa! She looks so sweet. Congratulations of Saveur, that's huge! And thank you so much for mentioning us.
  • We love your work, and thought this MidSummer party post was perfect to include in our Weekly Roundup blog today! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/qhvZ6D xo, the ladies of ThursdayNightDinner.org
  • How cute is Elsa - lika a swedish cinnamonbun! The cake looks like something I would love :)
  • Heavenly! I had no idea what the little red berries were - would have never guessed wild strawberries! We've got our 4th of July, but nothing that quite celebrates summer for its own sake.
  • The smultron look delicious! Our family id half Swedish but at the moment we live in the UK so its great to share your Swedish midsummer.
  • This party looks just wonderful. How I would have loved to be there. So whimsical, natural, rustic and sun-lit. I have a question about the cakes: If I make them in muffin cups, should I remove the base before adding the filling? Thank you! :)
  • The Swedish have it right - summer is DEAD here in France, nice to know I can make some Swedish midsummer fun over here thanks to your great recipe! Will be making this asap! Love the mix of raw food (crust) and a "normal" filling to lighten things up. Merci beaucoup and have a lovely summer!
    • PS Speaking of blueberries... I've had your "birthday blueberry smoothie" every day for breakfast this week (and may extend to every day this summer!) It's AMAZING - so simple yet so good and nutritious. It feels like my birthday every day! Thanks! :)
  • Vilka fantastiska bilder som verkligen sjunger midsommar hela vägen hit till Andalusien! Å bilden på Else är superhärlig! <3
  • just perfect, love the whole midsommer celebration. Anything with tons of flowers, dancing and being outside is a plus in my book. I want to eat that beautiful cake. I got Saveurs's site we love 2 weeks back :) Its a nice accomplishment congrats.
  • First of all, this party looks FABULOUS! Oh how I wish we did things like this here in the US. Makes our BBQs look pretty lame. And I'm SO HAPPY to hear that Saveur listed you as a Sites We Love... because, really, we do!
  • Sini
    Oh how I love midsummer! We always celebrate the longest day of the year, "the nightless night", with family and friends at our summer house by the lake. Here in Finland there surely are some differences in midsummer traditions (we don't dance around the pole like you Swedes). But we eat new potatoes and pickled herring (with butter and dill of course!), barbeque in the evening, drink a beer or two (or three or four...), go to the sauna and enjoy the bright summer night. Congratulations on the article at Saveur online! And the berry cake looks really delicious. Have to try it asap as the berries are now on their best.
  • These pictures are so cute and lovely! Congrats on the Saveur award, like many others said before me: You totally deserve it! Wonderful blog! I was wondering what kind of camera/ technique you guys used for the black and white picture showing the people sitting at the tables? I love the grey haze it has!
  • a perfect day, your country looks so beautiful! Congrats on the saveur award, you really, really deserve it! Such vibrant colors with the cake too, the picture is so amazing.
  • The pic of Elsa is soooo cute! Congrats to the Saveur award and you guys deserve it big time. Oh, and your cake both looks and sounds wonderful!
  • A crust of nuts and dried fruits is such a novel and great idea! I love it, I so want to try it, it looks very refreshing and flavorful!
  • I've never yet had the chance to spend midsummer in Sweden - perhaps that's for the best - I don't think I'm the kind of guy who'd like to dance the "Små grodorna", although my wife's birthday falls in August so we can always combine our crayfish party with her birthday celebration. We haven't been able to take our annual trip to Sweden to visit my wife's family yet due to various commitments - it will have to be delayed until December, but hey, at least I get to experience Swedish winters :/
  • Beautiful food, beautiful family and beautiful tradition. I was fortunate to spend Midsommer in Orust one year and fell in love with the country, drinking songs and Kubb. Skål och tack for sharing your stories with us.
  • Can I please come live with you? This midsummer feast is like out of a beautiful book. And what a lovely tradition, makes me think of A Midsummer Nights Dream by Shakespeare!
    • Oh and congrats on Saveur! And thank you for the sweet mention :)
  • Oh good gracious sakes alive that looks like such fun! Even the pole, AND the frog singing. If I did that in America people would contact the authorities.
  • Your cake looks beautiful ... big or pint-sized. What a lovely idea for the crust! With walnuts, dates and coconut you can't go wrong!
  • This is sooo beautiful and fun! I have a lot of Swedish blood in me and think I should use it as an excuse to celebrate in the same way. The food sounds magnificent, and the pictures make my heart smile. Thank you for posting. :)
  • I love these photos, they scream summer, fun and happiness. And the pic of Elsa is just priceless, she's such a cutie! :) Congratulations on Saveur award, it's well deserved. I must try the cake, looks scrumptious.
  • What a gorgeous cake and the perfect way to celebrate summer! Looks like a wonderful celebration, I love the photos of dancing around the midsummer pole.
  • Caroline
    Lovely post! I would love to see you guys doing that frog dance, sounds like lots of fun. Congrats on the Saveur thing, you totally deserve it!
  • Julia E
    Looks like you had a blast indeed! Can't wait to try the cake. Congratulations on your Saveur award!

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